Herbed Lentils and Rice

It’s a cool and cloudy day in Minnesota – time to fire up the oven (or the Crock Pot!) for this Taylor household favorite, adapted from Meatless Main Dishes. I always make a bigger batch so we can have leftovers, which can be eaten cold for lunch the next day, or packed into bell peppers or acorn squash halves and baked (add a little more Swiss cheese to the top)… possibilities abound. Cut everything in half if you are cooking for just one or two.

4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 c dry lentils
1 onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 c brown rice
1/2 dry white wine (or some other flavorful liquid – sometimes I just add more broth with maybe a touch of cider vinegar or wine vinegar)
8 oz Swiss cheese, shredded or just chopped into small cubes – I mean, you already have the knife dirty from the onions, right? Who wants to wash a grater if you don’t have to?
at least a tsp of each of the following dried herbs, crushed with a mortar and pestle:
basil
oregano
thyme
cracked pepper (and a pinch of salt)
4 oz Swiss cheese cut into strips for garnish

Combine everything except the cheese garnish strips in a large casserole. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Remove lid and give a little stir after about an hour. If it’s still pretty runny, leave the lid off. Otherwise, keep baking for up to two hours, until all the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender. Uncover for the last 5 minutes, and arrange the cheese strips over the top to melt in a lovely pattern. If you have any fresh herbs to sprinkle over the top, that’s nice too. Serve with your favorite green salad.

This travels well to potlucks, and we always get asked for the recipe.  It works in a slow cooker, and doubles easily.

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